Old Navy’s ‘Americana’ T’s Made Overseas

July 1st, 2015

Old Navy shirts

Oh say can you see … the label on this patriotic T-shirt that discloses that it’s made in Vietnam? Or the label on the tee next to it that reveals that it’s not made in the “Greatest Place on Earth” — which the shirt indicates is the United States — but in Guatemala? Or how about the third shirt with the words “Sea to Shining Sea” printed on the front — would you believe this garment spouting “America the Beautiful” lyrics also comes from Vietnam?

Old Navy’s Americana collection, from which the three T-shirts are taken, employs a series of American slogans and imagery to pull at your patriotic heartstrings (and, consequently, your patriotic dollars). Other slogans that appear on graphic tees in the collection include “Land of the Free” and “American Dreamers.”

Yet, a review of a collection at one Old Navy store revealed that none of the items in the collection are made in the USA. In fact, more than a dozen are made somewhere else, in faraway lands such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Cambodia, Guatemala and Vietnam.

IMG_1056To be fair, Old Navy does not make any express claims that any of its Americana line is American-made. But the pretense is there. In addition to the slogans and imagery, the items are currently being sold as part of a “red, white & new” sale. Also, the Connecticut store I visited this week seemed keen on patriotic music, serenading early morning shoppers with JD McPherson’s “Everybody’s Talking ‘Bout the All-American.”

So the American-made implication is not so far-fetched — which then explains why one shopper, after purchasing a few items in the Old Navy store, was surprised to hear that most, if not all, of the store’s Americana collection appears to be foreign-made.

“It’s kind of like the Olympics gear not (being) made in the USA,” said Pat, who declined to give her last name. Pat’s comment was in reference to the reaction following the revelation that the official U.S. team uniforms for the 2012 Summer Olympics designed by Ralph Lauren were completely made in China.

I spent a good 45 minutes surveying the store and was surprised that I couldn’t find a single T-shirt emblazoned with the American flag or the words “USA” that was actually made in the U.S. and supported the manufacturing of the “Greatest Place on Earth.” I did find a table of tees with shirts that carried the words, “Old Navy 2015 … American Tradition since 1994.”

Every one was made in Vietnam.

I called and emailed Old Navy to ask them about this issue. I have not heard back.

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About the Author

Jason Bagley

Jason Bagley, writer at TINA.org, is still romantic about journalism and believes in its power to educate and inform.



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